Swiss voters voted 63 percent to 37 percent on Sunday to approve an amendment that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, extending Switzerland’s racism laws.
The BBC reports: “Supporters of the law argued that no-one would be prosecuted for private comments, or for religious beliefs. But, they say, the law should protect the LGBT community from public discrimination, and aggression. Members of the gay community interviewed by Switzerland’s 20 Minuten papersaid they were often physically attacked, some even hospitalised. Other groups of young men told the same paper they felt it was ok to hit openly gay couples, even suggesting they could be ‘cured with a few punches’. This is the point, says campaigner Jessica Zuber, where the argument over freedom of expression goes too far.”
The NYT reports: “Interior Minister Alain Berset said in a video message to voters that jokes about gay men and lesbians would still be allowed “as long as they respect human dignity.” Switzerland has long trailed behind most of its neighbors in L.G.B.T.Q. rights, ranking 27th of 49 European countries in the 2019 report of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Switzerland had a score of 29, from a possible 100, for such rights, according to the organization, compared to 47 in Germany, 63 in France and 67 in Britain. Other European countries such as France, Britain, and Belgium have enacted laws against homophobia since the early 2000s. Though same-sex partnerships are legal in Switzerland, same-sex marriage is not.”